Reunions and Weather Delays
The Cardinals got the W in Pittsburgh this weekend with the help of some familiar faces to the Steel City.
After two weather delays, the longest halftime I've ever seen and many different lighting scenarios, here's my recap.
James Conner and Kelvin Beachum weren't on the Steelers at the same time, but this game was the first time either of them have been back on the field as the opposing team.
I tried to capture a couple of frames that showed the juxtaposition of their old stomping grounds versus their new roles on the Cardinals.
As many readers might know, the Steelers were the first NFL team I worked for, so this weekend was also my first time on the visiting sideline.
It was very fun seeing James and Kelvin reminisce with their former teammates while I also got to work alongside my friends, and I want to shout out my mentor, Karl Roser, for everything he's taught me over the years.
While waiting for the players to head out for introductions, I found the perfect photo essay selfie spot.
This stadium had a pretty long walk from the locker room to the field, so I set up in the middle of it and got some nice photos of the guys ready for battle.
For being December in Pittsburgh, I think we all thought it was going to be colder than it was, at least in the beginning.
I caught Phil Hoskins looking to cool down before the national anthem.
It ended up being very sunny out before the clouds rolled in. At first, I thought the light was going to be too harsh, but it turned out pretty dynamic.
Sometimes, I can plan out a certain frame and it just never turns out.
Sunday was luckily not one of those days, and I got one of my favorite photos of Jonathan Gannon so far.
The goal line stop by the defense was one of the first huge plays of the game, and I'm glad I had positioned myself nearby to capture it instead of at the opposite end of the field.
While the action shots of the play don't really showcase our players ...
... the celebration pictures are worth a thousand words.
Michael Carter's big run was interesting to look back on, because it started out with this photo that, to the blind eye, looks like he's about to be put on the ground.
But then the next couple of frames show him smiling ear to ear as he runs around the defense.
Ten minutes later, the first rain shower began.
I was excited about what I got of Trey McBride's first touchdown attempt, until it was overturned.
While I prefer that photo, I still was able to get a nice isolated shot of Kyler throwing the second pass that was finally ruled a touchdown.
I had such a clear angle of Trey celebrating, up until my camera got confused with all the huge raindrops falling everywhere and focused on the wrong thing.
Cue the first weather delay of my NFL career.
Right as the clock hit zero on the first half, the stadium announced that everyone should take cover and leave the seating bowl due to lightning, and since the rain had let up a little bit, I stayed out on the field to document the event.
They even showed the weather radar on the scoreboard, so of course I had to take a selfie to commemorate the occasion.
The halftime show was supposed to be a corgi race of some sort, and while we didn't get to witness that tremendous event, we did get to hang out with the dogs while taking cover in the tunnel.
I went back onto the field to capture the players running out, which I never really get to do after a normal halftime due to the limited time we have.
A couple of the guys were hyping up the few fans that were brave enough to remain in the stands.
It's hard to pick my favorite play of the game this week, but a great moment was Dante Stills' fumble recovery.
I was able to capture him diving on the ball and getting up to celebrate.
I immediately picked up and ran to the end zone, where Jesse Luketa spotted me and pointed the crew in my direction.
You can see how they started to pose towards the stands until they saw my camera.
I was proud that I've built a relationship with this team enough that they recognize me on the sidelines and trust that I'll give them the best photos.
And I'm sure my bright red rain jacket made me easier to notice!
Joey Blount wanted his photo op with Dante before the group headed back towards the sideline.
The rain started up again right before James Conner's first touchdown, and while I love getting photos of the rain, I absolutely hate working with rain gear covering my cameras.
The threat of water ruining an element of my camera gear is just an added stressor to an already stressful environment of capturing the perfect photo.
But anyway, look at the cool rain photos of James!
The second weather delay of the day happened right after the score, and this one was definitely a lot worse. The rain was heavier and it got really windy.
I took cover in the corgi tunnel again accompanied by the rest of our on-field camera crew.
We knew as the day went on that it would probably get a little bit colder, but with the clouds, rain and hours of losing sun, I'd say it dropped at least 20 degrees.
These Steelers fans didn't seem to mind though.
Because we already had one weather delay, I knew the schedule with this second one, so I headed to our team tunnel to capture our players coming back to the field.
This is definitely the only time I've ever been able to say I missed out on a moment only for it to be repeated the exact same way later.
I had set up in the end zone for most of the fourth quarter, and I got a great angle of Rondale Moore's touchdown catch that was called back due to holding.
He caught the ball with one hand and his helmet.
After an impressive punt from Blake Gillikin, the Steelers were forced to start their offensive drive near their own goal line, which gave me a unique angle for capturing our defense.
I'm glad I used my 85mm lens for James Conner's second touchdown because the wider frame allowed me to get more players in the shots.
I love these first frames where you can see Kyler Murray celebrate before James even crosses the five-yard line.
Then Trey McBride joined in on the fun.
James watched the replay on the scoreboard before putting his own hands up.
The postgame locker room was a blast, everyone was excited and anxiously awaiting Jonathan Gannon's entrance to start things off.
He came in with a ton of energy, and once he announced James Conner as the game ball recipient, the group went wild.
I love all the emotion in these frames, including Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill and general manager Monti Ossenfort.
James was thrust into the middle of the circle, and crowned king by a couple different players, like Jonathan Ledbetter in the second photo.
The whole room knelt down in prayer before James huddled everyone together for his speech, and I noticed the player next to me had a hat that said "Yes, I do believe in God."
It was a very "what are the odds" moment to capture.
After a whirlwind of a game, we packed up and made our return home to Phoenix.
This week is the Cardinals' bye week, so unfortunately we won't have a Depth of Field for Week 14.
But, have no fear, you can re-live all the best moments from the season right here on azcardinals.com.